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Thread: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessars

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  1. #1

    "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessars

    I'm looking to get a 24cm Zeiss Jena Tessar for my 4x5 camera, in order to secure a more portrait-appropriate focal length relative to my current 135mm mainstay. I'm pretty broke, so I have to be careful in the choices I make. I can see a lot of these lenses in varying condition the eBay, and I'm not sure what to pick, as I assume not all production series were the same. I intend on front-mounting the lens on a Copal 3s shutter, which should fit. What I need the most help with is in finding out when they started applying coatings to their lenses, as it is very important that the one I purchase lacks any coating. Most of the answers I've found in a desultory search both here and on the wider web claim it happened within a broad period in the 30's. Is there a specific series number after which I can be sure they have coatings? Additionally, will copies this old always lack front threading on the barrel? Can I assume that all 24cm 1:9 Zeiss Jena Tessars are meant to be used with a large format camera, and will accommodate movements?
    Last edited by senderoaburrido; 4-Jul-2022 at 16:47.

  2. #2

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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    This may not answer your question, but I found these two docs helpful in understanding the history of the Jena Tessar lenses.

    https://www.arnecroell.com/zeissoberkochen.pdf

    https://www.arnecroell.com/czj.pdf

    Hope they help.
    Bill Poole

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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Not for confusion, but some of uncoated lenses were also retro-coated at factories as service.
    So the serial number won’t help for this case….
    You can also ask Jason Lane to coat uncoated lenses if you wish….

  4. #4

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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Zeiss Tessar dates back to the early 1900's. The Zeiss Jena f9 APO Tessar versions were originally designed for process cameras to make color separation films. Larger full aperture Zeiss and other Tessars were intended "normal" photography.

    Why limit the lens choice to only Zeiss as the Tessar formula were made by LOTs of other lens manufactures. Non coated lenses would be from the pre WW-II era, coatings happened en-mass soon after WW-II.

    Know uncoated lenses were aftermarket coated by lens sellers like Burke & James_Lens Bank and others including Goerz which offered a coating service for their older non-coated lenses back in those days.

    Motivation for using non coated lenses would be lower contrast combined with residual lens aberrations do result in a specific lens personality combined with lighting that can be highly desirable for the intended image goal. This becomes a question of the specific "look" to meet your image goals. Only way to know precisely what works best for your image needs is to test and try. The idea-belief Zeiss Tessar will fit best without testing, evaluation is very iffy at best, as it might be very possible a non Zeiss Tessar would fit your image making needs far better than the Zeiss Tessar.

    Fitting a barrel lens to a copal# 3 by lens cell adapters or front mounting will unlikely be a direct thread on, a specific threaded adapter will be needed. This is often a special item which adds significant cost to the lens set up.


    Bernice

  5. #5

    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Very informative Bernice. Thanks to all for the warnings about manufacturers coating old lenses as a service.

    I need for the lens to be uncoated so as to increase the amount of UV light passing through. I chose Tessars specifically because they appear to be the best compromise between general acuity of the image while possessing very few elements and less total glass from front-to-back than many other common designs. I've also read that even the oldest copies tend to produce relatively sharp images, which is in my interest, as I intend to shoot portraits in the UV.

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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Quote Originally Posted by senderoaburrido View Post
    Very informative Bernice. Thanks to all for the warnings about manufacturers coating old lenses as a service.

    I need for the lens to be uncoated so as to increase the amount of UV light passing through.

    I've been shooting wet plate for three years now, and honestly haven't seen much if any difference between using coated lenses and uncoated. I am using sunlight as my light source, not a UV light. Since I haven't tried it I don't know if that makes any difference. Below photo used the Velostigmat 12 inch on tin type. Outdoor shade photo.


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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Topic of UV transmission of lenses has been discussed previously on this topic:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ustar-37/page4

    Reply# 37, UV transmission chart of various lenses.

    Reply# 38, UV transmission graphs of Schneider lenses. Schneider graph for the 360mm Tele Xenar is for their last multicoated version according to Robert Kipling apps engineer at Schneider USA in the 90's. Note the APO artar which is a dialyte formula has about 80% transmission at 400nm. Rapid attenuation past 420nm of the APO Symmar (modern Plasmat) was specifically designed in for good color rendition using color films from that era. Color films were affected by UV light, to address this problem, view camera lens providers re-designed their offerings to attenuate uv to aid in color reproduction.

    Lens coatings alone are not the primary factor to lens UV transmission, optical glass types figures into this. Schneider Xenar (circa 1967), Tele Xenar, D-Claron and Dagor type g-Claron appears to have the most UV transmission to 365nm.

    Zeiss made a 105mm UV Sonnar for Hasselblad long ago with a transmission range of 215 to 700nm (quartz and fluorite elements used).
    https://www.zeiss.com/content/dam/co...r-43105-en.pdf

    This was a curiosity published some years ago on wet plate portraits and strobe power needed using modern light modifiers.
    https://petapixel.com/2015/12/11/sho...udio-lighting/

    12,000 watt seconds of strobe power seems lots today, back in the days of sheet film color transparency commercial AD images, 12,000 watt seconds of strobe power was very common. Bit surprised that strobe flash tubes with UV output specific to wet plate sensitivity needs.


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by senderoaburrido View Post
    I need for the lens to be uncoated so as to increase the amount of UV light passing through. I chose Tessars specifically because they appear to be the best compromise between general acuity of the image while possessing very few elements and less total glass from front-to-back than many other common designs. I've also read that even the oldest copies tend to produce relatively sharp images, which is in my interest, as I intend to shoot portraits in the UV.

  8. #8

    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Topic of UV transmission of lenses has been discussed previously on this topic:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ustar-37/page4

    Reply# 37, UV transmission chart of various lenses.

    Reply# 38, UV transmission graphs of Schneider lenses. Schneider graph for the 360mm Tele Xenar is for their last multicoated version according to Robert Kipling apps engineer at Schneider USA in the 90's. Note the APO artar which is a dialyte formula has about 80% transmission at 400nm. Rapid attenuation past 420nm of the APO Symmar (modern Plasmat) was specifically designed in for good color rendition using color films from that era. Color films were affected by UV light, to address this problem, view camera lens providers re-designed their offerings to attenuate uv to aid in color reproduction.

    Lens coatings alone are not the primary factor to lens UV transmission, optical glass types figures into this. Schneider Xenar (circa 1967), Tele Xenar, D-Claron and Dagor type g-Claron appears to have the most UV transmission to 365nm.

    Zeiss made a 105mm UV Sonnar for Hasselblad long ago with a transmission range of 215 to 700nm (quartz and fluorite elements used).
    https://www.zeiss.com/content/dam/co...r-43105-en.pdf

    This was a curiosity published some years ago on wet plate portraits and strobe power needed using modern light modifiers.
    https://petapixel.com/2015/12/11/sho...udio-lighting/

    12,000 watt seconds of strobe power seems lots today, back in the days of sheet film color transparency commercial AD images, 12,000 watt seconds of strobe power was very common. Bit surprised that strobe flash tubes with UV output specific to wet plate sensitivity needs.


    Bernice
    Incredibly helpful! Thanks Bernice. It seems many of the older Clarons are perfectly suited. I would be happy to use one of those instead of these old Tessars, given that all the examples I can find seem to possess threaded front barrels to accommodate the necessary lens filters.

  9. #9

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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    Think Schneider Claron lens cells thread direct into industry standard shutters like Copal. Check the lens barrel -vs- shutter spacing and threading before attempting this.
    What remains will be the aperture scale for the re-fitted lens.

    Schneider did offer Claron series lenses in shutter, they are GOOD. They are typically full aperture of f9 or smaller for longer focal lengths.


    Bernice

    Quote Originally Posted by senderoaburrido View Post
    Incredibly helpful! Thanks Bernice. It seems many of the older Clarons are perfectly suited. I would be happy to use one of those instead of these old Tessars, given that all the examples I can find seem to possess threaded front barrels to accommodate the necessary lens filters.

  10. #10
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    Re: "When did pre-war Zeiss start applying coatings?" and other questions about Tessa

    According to Croell - "The Zeiss invention of lens coating shortly before WWII (initially marked by a red “T” on the mount of Jena-made lenses"...

    from the first article Bill linked above...

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